American Arrested On Drug Charges In Moscow

( – Robert Romanov Woodland, a 32-year-old US citizen currently living in Moscow, faces severe drug-related charges that could result in a two-decade imprisonment. Woodland was actually born in Russia but was adopted by American parents from an orphanage and grew up in the United States. He later returned to Russia, where he worked as an English teacher near Moscow and even successfully reconnected with his birth mother on Russian television.

Woodland’s recent arrest occurred on January 6 and he has been detained until at least March 5, as decreed by Moscow’s Ostankino District Court. He stands accused of participating in an extensive illegal drug procurement and distribution scheme. Despite appeals from his legal team for a transfer to house arrest, the prosecution has opposed the move, as stated by the Russian media outlet Mash.

The timing of Woodland’s arrest is noteworthy, given the US State Department’s recent advisory urging Americans to depart from Russia due to heightened risks of unwarranted detentions, exacerbated by ongoing tensions following Russia’s military invasion in Ukraine. The department emphasized its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of US citizens abroad, though refrained from commenting further on Woodland’s case to respect privacy considerations.

Meanwhile, the US government continues its efforts to secure the release of other Americans detained in Russia under different circumstances. Among them are Paul Whelan, a former Marine convicted on espionage charges in 2018, and Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal journalist arrested in Yekaterinburg last year. Despite Washington’s persistent attempts to negotiate their freedom, all offers have been rebuffed by Russian authorities. Both Whelan and Gershkovich deny the charges leveled against them, with the US asserting their wrongful imprisonment. The US has emphasized in the past that the only reason Russia continues to hold these men is because of political motivations regarding the US’ support for Ukraine.

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